The Power of Google Analytics

Many readers have been emailing me to shed some light on Google Analytics, its features, and how to get the most out of it. You could fill a whole magazine going through all of its qualities, how to find them in the dashboard, and how to get the most out of them. Franchise Advice From MayflyFor those unsure what Google Analytics (GA) is, it is Google’s free website analytics’ software package. Installation only requires a Google account, and some tracking code placed onto your website. Once this has been done, you have access to a wealth of information about your website. If you don’t have this, I urge you to have it installed.

This is by no means a complete guide to GA, but here are some very useful elements to take a look at. Next to each feature, I have added the instructions of how to get here once logged into your analytics account.

Filters. (Admin –> Profiles –> Filters)

As the name suggests, you can filter certain traffic and remove it from your statistics. My advice here is to filter your IP address (this is the address of your own computer). If you or your staff are regularly on your website, adding your IP to filters means you can be sure that all search figures for your site are real visitors, and just people from within your organisation.

Adwords. (Standard Reporting –> Advertising –> Adwords)

Do you have Google Adwords running for your franchise website? Linking your Adwords into your GA account as well as being very simple to do is a great way to see how your Adwords traffic interacts with your site. It will show each of your campaigns and how each keyword drives traffic to your site, but also show you how that visitor interacted with your site. Bounce rates & length of time on your site are shown for each keyword.

Search Engine Optimisation. (Standard Reporting –> Traffic Sources –> SEO)

This is a relatively new features and requires you to link your GA account with your Google Webmaster Tools account. Once done, you can see which are your better performing keywords in Google’s organic/natural results, how often those terms are searched for per month, your average position, and the amount of clicks those keywords generate for you.

Mobile Traffic (Standard Reporting –> Audience –> Mobile)

With my own client’s sites I am noticing a huge increase in the number of visitors through mobile devices. It was only about 18 months ago where the average percentage of mobile traffic was around 5%. Most of our client’s sites are now nearer 15%, with some receiving up to 30% of their traffic from these devices. Why does this matter? If a quarter of your visitors look at your site on their phone, are you sure that they can see everything? And does everything work? You need to make sure it is mobile friendly, and if it isn’t, you might want to look at bringing out a phone app, or designing a mobile version of your site, or redesigning your site with a responsive layout. GA will show you which devices are being used to view your site which will help you decide whether you need to take one of the above steps.

Goals/Ecommerce (Standard Reporting –> Conversions)

What is the purpose of your website? Encourage sign-ups? Newsletter sign-ups? Leads? Recruitment emails or product sales? By setting up Goals for all the above, except for ecommerce, this feature will tell you when you have had a conversion, but if you enable all of the other features above, you will see where that conversion came from, the cost of it (if it came from Adwords etc), and also how they got to your conversion page. This is all useful information to use to improve these rates.

Visitor Flow (Standard Reporting –> Audience –> Visitor Flow)

This tool was introduced at the beginning of the year and is a great visual aid to show you how your traffic flows through your website. At each stage or page, it shows where your traffic went to next, and the amount of traffic that dropped off or exited your site. One of the great things with this is that you can filter your traffic to show how Paid traffic might behave differently to traffic from referred sites or from mobile traffic.

Site Search (Standard Reporting –> Content –> Site Search)

For those of you who are running extensive sites with lots of content, for example franchise directories, you may already have a ‘Search’ box where users can search for something within your site by typing in a keyword. By activating this within your GA account, all keywords that are entered into the search box will be recorded. This is especially useful for telling you what people are searching for, and if this content doesn’t exist on your site, and then you can add it.